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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 13, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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>> thanks for having me. >> great to have you on. for our viewers, you can watch "the '70s" tonight here on cnn at 9:00 p.m. eastern time. that's it for "the lead" today. tomorrow, jake tapper returns. that's going to be live from havana, cuba. i turn you now over to pamela brown. she is in for wolf blitzer in a place you might know as "the situation room." happening now, earth shaking explosions. a series of blasts rock a major port city with the force of an earthquake, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. including workers for an american company. tonight, new video of the disaster, and new details of the search for the missing. terror leader resurfaces. a disturbing new message believed to be from the head of al qaeda who helped plan the 9/11 attacks with osama bin laden. he's now pledging allegiance to the new taliban commander. are they plotting together against the u.s.? american terror targets.
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an apparent hit list posted by alleged isis hackers. containing personal information about u.s. diplomats, scientists, and military personnel. threatening to come after them and their families. what's being done to protect them? and near disaster. a drone comes within feet of a medical helicopter transporting a patient. forcing the pilot to take evasive action. the number of similar close calls is skyrocketing. is it only a matter of time before midair collision? wolf blitzer is off today. i'm pamela brown. you're in "the situation room." we have dramatic new video of a fiery and deadly disaster. a series of incredible explosions that ripped through one of china's biggest ports. >> oh! >> what the --
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>> holy -- >> no [ bleep ] way! >> the death toll is climbing and hundreds of people are injured, including employees of u.s. base john deere. it's been forced to close its plant in the area. we're also investigating an apparent hit list by alleged isis hackers, containing sensitive and potentially dangerous personal details about more than 1,000 americans. we're covering all of that and more this hour with our kor spoen sp -- correspondents and our guests. we begin with those massive explosions in one of china's biggest port cities. bo ripley is there about 90 miles south of beijing.
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what's the latest you're seeing there? >> reporter: we are seeing the tremendous scope of the destruction this morning. people are waking up and realizing the damage is so extensive, pieces of the buildings are still falling off from the force of the explosion. we see some pieces dangling precariously overhead. the streets continue to be littered with debris. keep in mind, where i'm standing is well over a mile from the blast site itself. i want to show you over in the distance, that's where we saw the huge smoke plume yesterday. it appears that we don't see the black smoke that we saw, but there's still a haze over the city and concerns about the toxic air for the millions of people who have been affected by this and the thousands displaced by this massive explosion. horrific video pouring in in a major chinese port city late wednesday. watch this surveillance video obtained by abc news of a man standing near the entrance of a
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building. the blast decimating the wall. caving in right on top of him. the explosions facility miles away, emanating from an industrial warehouse in a city of 15 million, two hours south of beijing. the tell call material inside unknown, and dangerous, according to a state run news agency. firefighters are now suspended from tending to the building flames and fear the mysterious chemicals might pose a further threat. this as the death toll continues rising. dozens now dead, including firefighters and more than 500 injured. the house collapsed, we didn't know what happened says one survivor. during my live report from outside the hospital, tempers flare. a group of apparently distraught survivors along with security officers demanding to see the pictures on my phone, forcing me
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off the air. police don't stop them. emotions running high. the massive explosions equivalent to a small earthquake. when you look at all the devastation here, it's really remarkable. the aftermath found far and wide, buildings destroyed, cars are completely charred more than a mile away from the blast site. right now people are asking exactly how could something so dangerous be allowed so close to people's homes, something that could cause this kind of damage from more than a mile away. those are questions that people are going to continue to ask here, but the big question right now, is the air safe to breathe? there are environmental monitoring stations. people are concerned that a heightened level of chemicals in the air could have serious health consequences, especially for the families here with children and that's something they'll be monitoring in the coming days as china tries to investigate how this happened.
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>> we are getting new video of this disaster. it was a series of explosions. each one bigger than the last. take a look at this. >> oh. holy [ bleep ]. >> you get that? >> yeah, i'm videoing it. what the [ bleep ]. >> i think that might be a gas station. >> whoa! holy [ bleep ]! no [ bleep ] way! >> no way! oh, my god!
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>> are you filming? >> yes, i'm filming. >> let's go down. let's go. come on. [ bleep ]. [ bleep ]. no [ bleep ] way. holy [ bleep ]. >> i know, let's go. >> you can hear the fear in their voices. executives of the company that own the warehouse have been taken into custody. a terror threat raising fear of a new alliance. barbara starr is working this story for us. barbara, what are you finding
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out? >> good evening, pamela. we have not heard from the head of al qaeda in months. now he has surfaced again and the question is, why? >> in an online audio message, a man purported to be al qaeda leader pledges allegiance to the new taliban leader. hundreds in the ranks already swearing their allegiance. >> i think we have to watch that very carefully. >> reporter: cnn could not independently verify the authenticity of the message. why would the man who succeeded osama bin laden pledge allegiance to the taliban, often seen as secondary to al qaeda? >> what he's doing is recementing the alliance between al qaeda and the taliban, an alliance that enabled al qaeda
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to have a sanctuary in afghanistan for much of the 1990s and part of the 2000s. >> the taliban had been staging massive attacks across kabul, trying to reassert their authority and gain bargaining power in peace talks, u.s. officials believe. but zawahiri's move may be trying to keep his al qaeda also in play. >> i think it puts to rest the contention that we can somehow put the taliban back into the power structure in afghanistan without bringing al qaeda back into the country. >> zawahiri and his core al qaeda group have been locked in a battle for months. zawahiri sat by bin laden's side during the 9/11 attacks and still has not faced justice. but now, a new more violent generation of isis militants is
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taking center stage. and there are tonight still nearly 10,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan. scheduled to come out of that area at the end of next year, but they could be asked to say if the violence grows worse. pamela? >> barbara starr, thank you so much. with us now in "the situation room," former cia official phil mudd. our law enforcement analyst, former fbi assistant director tom fuentes. cnn terrorism analyst paul cruickshank. and fran townsend, who was president george w. bush's homeland security adviser. paul, i'm going to start with you here. you have followed the al qaeda lead leader extensively. why would he decide to come out from the shadows after an unprecedented silence? >> he needed to show that he was still alive, still relevant, still the leader of al qaeda. we haven't heard from him for 11 months, almost a year, and that's a pretty unprecedented
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silence. so he needed to put to bed speculation that he was dead, just like -- there's been speculation about that. and the movement has been weakening al qaeda at a time when it's in competition with isis. and of course, there's this new leader of the taliban now, and he needed to come out of the woodwork to pledge allegiance to him, otherwise the speculation would just have grown. >> how much do you think the competition with isis played a role in this pledge of allegiance? what's the motivation behind it? >> oh, i think there should be no doubt. we've seen the wide recruitment of isis. in al baghdadi, isis has a charismatic leader, having not heard from zawahiri in 11 months. sort of this vacuum of leadership. frankly, i think the other piece to this is he wanted to cement his relationship with the
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taliban. as the taliban has become more promine prominently, political. he saw this as an opportunity to cement that alliance. >> and zawahiri, as we know, phil, he played a key role, was engaged in day-to-day operations in the planning of 9/11. why haven't u.s. officials been able to get him? >> to paraphrase a friend of mine, because he's hiding. the first is the u.s. doesn't have the presence. second, the pakistanis themselves don't have a significant presence there. so they can't hunt him down. third is he doesn't have a digital trail. he's not up on e-mail. he's not up on phone. he's not up on 21st century communications that help you target. fourth, you can presume he's using human couriers. that is expendable people from the local community who might do a run or two to them and then are out of the game. there are a lot of reasons he
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can hide. >> you say he doesn't have a digital trail. can this audio message help u.s. officials track him in any way? isn't there a courier or someone interacting with him, similar to osama bin laden to help track him? >> certainly they could, pam, but i think the big issue here is that both the taliban and al qaeda, core al qaeda, zawahiri, and the young fighters are young and aggressive. many probably 10 years old at the time of 9/11. so they look at these old guys as they've been in hiding for ten years. they're cowards. they're no good. osama bin laden got a lot of credit, so he could hide. but for zawahiri, they have to come out a little bit, try to get some invigoration into the young leaders. >> this would not be my number
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one priority. he and bin laden were not the number one priority when i was there ten years ago. the reason is simple. the responsibility you have in that position is to eliminate threats and plots against new york, washington, london, paris. those are typically operational commanders one level below people like zawahiri and bin laden. zawahiri will not die a peaceful death. but he's not the same priority you would give to someone training individuals. >> al qaeda still a threat. isis releasing this new hit list with american names on it. we're going to talk about that. stick around. we have a lot more to discuss. we'll be right back. why should over two hundred years of citi history matter to you? well, because it tells us something powerful about progress: that whether times are good or bad,
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there's a new twist in the isis terror threat tonight. an apparent hit list containing personal information about more than 1,000 americans. along with a chilling threat against their lives. cnn's brian todd is here with all the details. brian, what do we know about this list? >> we know there are at least some legitimate personal details of u.s. military personnel and other officials on this hit list. and tonight, officials from washington to australia are telling us they are investigating this list and they're warning their personnel. a dry-looking spread sheet with
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sensitive, potentially dangerous personnel details. a group calling itself the islamic state hacking division has published this list online. about 1,400 names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and alleged passwords of u.s. military personnel and civilian government employees. at the top, a message. both crusaders know that we are in your e-mails and computer systems, watching and recording your every move. it says they're extracting confidential data, passing it to isis, and its soldiers "will strike at your necks in your own lands. >> this drives people to follow up on this information. maybe it will get a hit on someone. maybe it won't. it also does really freak out u.s. governments, military and law enforcement personnel. >> the fbi is investigating. u.s. military and australian police officials tell cnn they're looking into how it's affecting their people on the list. >> i take it seriously because it's clear what they're trying
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to do. so it's important for us to make sure that all our force understands what they're trying to do. >> neither cnn, nor flash point intelligence can confirm the authenticity of this claim or the accuracy of the passwords on the list. we called and e-mailed several people on the list. some e-mail bounced back as being old addresses. others went through. one retired serviceman confirmed to us the phone number for him on the list is accurate and he said the pentagon alerted him. one australian computer security expert says this is likely not an actual hack. >> it's evident it's anning a regiggs of data from multiple sources and most of it is publicly discoverable. >> but analysts say it doesn't have to be a hack of protected information. given the recent attacks, the message to potential lone wolves is a dangerous one. >> you can stay where you are. do something where you are.
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they are creating a sense for someone sitting in their mama's basement, you are part of us. >> a u.s. military official tells cnn following the publishing of this list, they are telling their personnel to protect their personal information, online and in social media. don't put anything on facebook or twitter indicating where you are, where you work, who your relatives are, and they've had to do this before. u.s. officials say this is at least the second time this year that a group claiming affiliation with isis has bragged about doing this. >> there's a well-known isis hacker who's been promoting this list, is that right? >> that's right, his name is jenaid hussein, now believed to be with isis in syria. he's been hunted by coalition forces. just after this list came out on a twitter handle claiming to be his, there was a tweet saying "they have us on their hit list and we have them on ours too." that has since been shut down. >> a big concern for u.s. intelligence officials. thank you so much, brian todd. and let's get more insight from
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our experts. fran, i'm going to start with you again. is this a realistic threat? >> sure it is. first and foremost, it's meant to be an intimidation tactic. it's meant to let them know that they're not safe regardless of where they are or where their information is. in and of itself, it's meant to be a terrorizing tactic. i think we need to know more. that's why people are look at was this really the result of a hack, is this an aggregation of data, is the data accurate? all those things matter. but if your name is on that list, and if any of your information on it is accurate, you're very concerned tonight as are government officials. >> we know the fbi is looking at this. there's been a rise in isis plots in the u.s. how seriously are officials taking this threat? >> i think they have to take this threat seriously because of the threat context. these accelerating numbers of
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isis inspired plots in the united states. 16 americans involved in those plots since march. many of those plots are targeted at the u.s. military. that was more like an al qaeda-inspired plot. there's also concern that the british hacker linked to this threat is somebody trying to instigate terrorist attacks in the united states and other western countries. he was in touch with one of the attackers in that attempted attack in garland, texas, in may, pamela. >> so you have someone like jenaid hussein in touch with americans encouraging them to make an attack. how concerned would you need to be if you're on that list? >> i think you have to be concerned for a few reasons. people will be worried about whether the information is accurate. i personally think that's irrelevant. one of the hardest things to
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figure out is intent. what do they want to do? attack an embassy? attack a fast-food restaurant? they are indicating intent. they want you to find information on social media and go after individuals from the military, from the cia. and the second and final reason i'd be worried is this information is readily available to a home grown extremist. within 60 seconds, i found my home address. you have to be worried, it doesn't matter if the information is accurate today. >> isis would like to make you think it's a hack, but in reality, a lot of this is open source. do you think this is more scare tactic than anything that isis is doing here? >> everything they say and do is a scare tactic. when they put out a global kill to all their followers or wannabe followers on a worldwide basis, that's threatening enough, except that's addressed to whom it may concern. now you have an order going out, kill this person. and it has your name on it.
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we said you don't worry about the bullet with your name on it. we worry about those tens of thousands of bullets that are addressed to whom it may concern. now you have both. >> i can't imagine how law enforcement has to deal with this day in, day out. thank you so much. we appreciate it. and coming up right here on "the situation room," race, justice, and the presidential campaign. caught off guard by activists demanding chain. we're taking a closer look. toenail fungus? seriously? smash it with jublia! jublia is a prescription medicine proven to treat toenail fungus. use jublia as instructed by your doctor. look at the footwork! most common side effects include ingrown toenail, application site redness, itching, swelling, burning or stinging, blisters, and pain.
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we're following something unique in the 2016 campaign cycle, disrupting plans, forcing them into confrontations they'd rather avoid, and posing a threat of embarrassing them on camera. it happened to jeb bush last night when he was confronted by demonstrators from the black lives matter movement, as we see here. cnn senior washington correspondent joe johns has a closer look. joe? >> the black lives matter issue is just getting started, tripping up democrats and republicans on the trail, especially those defending their records in office. zero tolerance policies of martin o'malley in baltimore, bernie sanders for the crime bill. though the most visible aspect right now is how it's changing how candidates use their words. >> black lives matter! >> the chant went up at the back of the room, following a jeb bush campaign event in nevada.
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he had already addressed the black lives matter protesters by answering a question from the crowd. >> these problems have gotten worse in the last few years. communities, people no longer trust the basic institutions in our society. >> but it wasn't enough to silence them. their issue was with something he had said on the stump. >> we're so uptight and politically correct now, you apologize for saying lives matter? >> that was in response to an apology to the movement issued by democrat martin o'malley, who said the same thing weeks ago. >> black lives matter. white lives matter. all lives matter. >> now, candidates on both sides are choosing their words. listen to republican john kasich who on cnn echoes bush and o'malley, but carefully. >> all lives do matter. black lives matter, especially now, because there's a fear in these communities that, you know, the justice system isn't working for them. >> how the candidates talk about police use of force against minorities is not going away as
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an issue in the campaign trail, or the public consciousness. it's fueled by headlines like the eruption last week in ferguson, missouri, on the one-year anniversary of michael brown's death. other top democrats have heard from the movement, too, even hillary clinton with polls showing strong black support, was met with black lives matter advocates in new hampshire. her husband bill recently issued his own mea culpa for the 1994 crime bill that accelerated mass incarceration. >> she did acknowledge that there are policies that she had been a part of that have not worked. >> candidate talks with candidates is what they say they want. >> what we're looking for is a conversation. >> black lives matter protesters forced democrat bernie sanders to give up his microphone at a campaign event in seattle. the republican frontrunner donald trump says he won't let protesters shut him down. >> that will never happen with me. i don't know if i'll do the
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fighting myself, or if other people will. but that was a disgrace. i felt badly for him. but it showed that he's weak. >> and so how does the one african-american in the race talk about the issue? republican ben carson has said police and people in black communities are often in fear of each other and the fear needs to be addressed, but what the activists say they want most from the candidates is a plan to address the issue. policing for the most part is a state and local issue. pamela? >> they are making their voices heard. joe johns, thank you so much. let's bring in jemele buoy, who writes about politics, race, and justice for "slate." don lemon, and mia malika henderson. we're going to talk about all of this after this quick break. too mark and alissa anderson. they bought the place four months ago on what was arguably the scariest day of their lives. neither has any idea what the future holds for them.
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our original dough is hand tossed and made fresh. there's a good reason why we never use frozen dough. it's because, there is no good reason to ever use frozen dough. ♪ developing now, activists with the black lives matter movement are confronting presidential candidates from both political parties, putting race and justice front and center in the 2016 campaign. we're back with jemele buoy, don lemon, and nia malika henderson. nia, who are these activists and what exactly are they trying to accomplish here? >> well, they really are a cross-racial group of mainly young, certainly passionate and galvanized by the string of incidents we've seen across this country, whether it's michael
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brown in ferguson or walter scott in south carolina. they very much want to keep this in the debate. you have a focus on it, and the cameras sort of go away. so they very much want to keep this in the news and they're doing it pretty effectively by crashing these events and getting these candidates to have to go on the record and address them and eventually i think the plan is to lay out a plan. >> not only address them, but also even apologize in some cases. we've heard that from martin o'malley, where he said that all lives matter, and we heard the booing in the crowd. why is that o'offensive to these activists? >> i think right now there is a particular problem of police violence against african-americ african-americans. this existed for a long time. cases like michael brown and walter scott have put it back into the news and have highlighted it for millions of americans. to say all lives matter doesn't really sound like you're trying to affirm the value of all lives. it sounds like you're trying to
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dismiss the idea of this particular problem. >> like they're missing the point basically of what this is all about. >> you're eating dinner, and you're like, can i have a serving of that, and your dad says, we can all have a serving. it's ignoring the extra request. no, i want the serving of that. not a general issue here. >> but what do you say to the other side that have argued these politicians, saying why are we being so politically correct here with this? >> i think jemele said this before. it's almost like black lives matter should have a "too" on the end of it. it's a call for black lives to matter and for politicians to look at these disparities and this idea that all lives matter sort of misses the point. that this is a very specific problem. but i do think you've had candidates say all lives matter, back up and say wait a minute, black lives matter, too. i believe ben carson was one of them who said listen, all lives matter and we shouldn't be so
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particular here. but it's a divisive issue. any time i tweet about this, i get people hash tagging me back saying all lives matter in a way that is sort of aggressive and dismissive. >> some of the protesters getting into it on both sides. some yelling all lives matter. the other saying black lives matter. don, it has garnered a lot of attention, even from comedy central's larry wilmore. and he has a lot to say about this movement. let's take a listen. >> i agree that black lives matter, but black manners matter as well. all right? if we're keeping it 100. also based on the demographics. if bernie sanders' rally for a ben and jerry's ice cream flavor, it would be nilla, please. >> your reaction there? >> it would be nilla, please. that sort of thing.
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i think larry makes a very good point. black lives matter, yes, black lives matter. but in reality, we know, and we understand when people say all lives matter what they mean. but we understand that the black lives movement, they want people to focus on black life. and what's happening with police brutality. and i applaud them. and they often get a lot of guff, the black lives people. but here's what i would say to them. larry is right. black manners do matter as well. you don't always get anything accomplished by shouting down the people who are on your side. yes, bernie could have handled it differently. yes, martin o'malley could have handled it differently. but if someone is in your corner and on your side, you don't necessarily gain their support by shouting them down. i do think that they are a political movement that has to be reckoned with in this particular presidential election. but they also risk becoming code
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pink if they don't start sitting down and talking to people and stop shouting down the very people who are on their side. >> in the abstract, i think don's right. but in this particular case, six months ago, people weren't issuing out criminal justice demands. seven months ago, they weren't. you didn't have jeb bush having to address this. you even have guys like john kasich talking about it. right now because of these disruptions and this general movement, even if it's impolite and aesthetically unpleasing for a lot of people, it has created actual concrete gains and has sort of upended the presidential race in a way that we haven't seen in a very long time. >> you're absolutely right. you're right. and i'm not saying that you're wrong. you're right. but at some point, everyone must evolve. that's all i'm saying. i'm not saying anything bad about the black lives movement. >> i think social movements tend to be mess si and disruptive. it the boston tea party really
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wasn't a party. you know, it was a disruptive act. and they have gotten results here. bernie sanders has issued a platform around this. he's hired african-american staffers. so they have gotten results. >> hillary clinton has met with them. >> martin o'malley. jeb bush. all of them. >> the dreamers who stage these demonstrations and confrontations. and they got an executive order of the president of the united states. >> and they would routinely disrupt president obama's events. even though they saw him as an ally, they wanted to push further. >> we're seeing this as a quandary for these politicians. because as we saw in the video, with bernie sanders, the activists coming in and pushing him away, or he stepped away from the microphone, however you want to perceive it. how should these candidates handle the situation? a situation like this that we're watching with bernie sanders. >> there are two ways of
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handling it. you can let them talk, or you can do what ronald reagan did and say, you know, hey, i paid for this microphone, or you can do what donald trump says, which is the same as ronald reagan. talk to the black lives movement people. talk to those young people out there and listen to them. if they want to take over your microphone for a minute, it may seem rude, you may be upset by it, but listen to them for a moment. i think after a while, if you listen to them, they probably won't interrupt your event or they won't see the need to interrupt your event. let's hope they get to a point where that doesn't happen. but i also think that dr. ben carson is right as well, that black lives has to go beyond law enforcement and also deal with other issues that we face as african-americans. >> and you mention ben carson. he is the only african-american candidate in the race. and he said that these activists are causing "strife."
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does carson in your view have an obligation to embrace the black lives matter movement, or is this kind of comment expected from him? >> he doesn't have to embrace anything. i think he would be foolish not to at least speak to them to understand what they're saying. if he feels there are other issues besides law enforcement issues that must be dealt with, he should talk to them about that. but i think it would be wise of him to meet with them and not just blow it off. i don't think comments like that are expected of him. i have great respect for dr. ben carson and what he's gone through and achieved and accomplished. i don't always agree with him. i don't always agree with any one of our politicians. but i think it would be foolish not to meet with them and talk about what he thinks is important as well. >> interesting discussion. thank you to all. we appreciate it. don will be back later with his own newscast. tune in at 10:00 p.m. eastern
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for "cnn tonight." coming up right here in "the situation room," a deadly serious new warning sparked by an alarming spike in near collisions involving aircraft and drones. plus, we're bringing in amazing pictures. take a look at the fire ball from the huge blast in a major port city. we're standing by for a live update from near the blast site. you totalled your brand new car.
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we're following an urgent new warning today about the growing and potentially deadly danger posed by drones. let's bring in cnn aviation
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correspondent renney marsh. what are you learning? >> they're in the sky by the hundreds. flying dangerously close to passenger planes. the number of close calls reported has more than doubled and tonight both the faa and pilots are expressing concern. tonight, the faa is sounding the alarm about a dramatic spike in the number of close calls between planes and drones. so far this year, pilots have reported more than 650 drone sightings. compared to 238 in all of 2014. >> yeah, we were on the final 31 right, 800, 900 feet, 100 feet below us was a drone. >> it absolutely is an unnecessary risk. especially during@provo phase, we're busy in the cockpit. one of the last things we're going to expect is a green encounter. >> reporter: despite faa rules that forbid flying above 400 feet near commercial planes or
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near an airport, hundreds and hundreds of drone operators have gone rogue. >> tower, we almost got hit by a drone, just to let you know up here. >> reporter: wednesday a medical helicopter flying a patient to a hospital in fresno, california, was forced to take evasive action after nearly crashing into a drone. firefighters battling wildfires last month in california were forced to ground operations because of unauthorized drones. in recent weeks, drones spotted flying dangerously close to multiple jet liners flying through some of the busiest air space over new york and new jersey. >> the faa needs to step it up from the standpoint of certainly let's public la size to the folks that are buying this kind of equipment, this drone equipment, that there are penalties, there are fines, there's possible jail terms. >> part of the problem is anyone can buy one of these drones, online or at the mall, for a couple hundred dollars. and they don't need any training
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or aviation experience to fly one. but drone lobbyists blame the faa for the spike in close calls saying that the agency needs to get more aggressive in going after rogue operators. now, we should point out although the faa has said it could be catastrophic if one of those drones strikes an airport engine or the windshield, it's worth noting no testing has been done to see exactly how much damage a drone can actually do. >> very concerning stuff, rene marsh, thank you so much. gripping new video of a fiery disaster. huge explosions ripping through a major port city with the force of an earthquake. this summer, challenge your preconceptions and experience a cadillac for yourself. ♪ the 2015 cadillac srx.
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happening now. catastrophic blasts. we now have new video that cup tours the hellish moments as a series of explosions rip through a chemical warehouse. tonight the death toll is climbing and millions of survivors may be at risk from toxic fumes. al qaeda's pledge. its mysterious leader is vowing support for another dangerous group with american blood on its hands. what is osama bin laden's heir trying to prove? i'll ask the top democrat on the house intelligence committee. and gop stumbles. jeb bush revisits his brother's invasion of iraq and raises more questions about where he stands. some of donald trump's tough rivals are feeling new heat tonight. why does he never seem to get burned? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm pamela brown. you're in "the situation room."
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it looked like the evidence the world. explosion after explosion and massive fireballs shooting into the sky. tonight, new images from a disaster that's still unfolding. dozens are missing in the rubble in a major port city in china. at least 50 are confirmed dead and hundreds injured. millions of others may be at risk from toxic fumes spewing from the blast site. where hazardous chemical materials were stored. some safety experts warn there could be another explosion. we have correspondents, analysts and newsmakers standing by as we cover all the news breaking right now. first to cnn's will ripley live near the explosion site. will? >> reporter: pam, right now a chemical and biological incident response team is on the ground in tianjin and they want to know which toxic chemical mix was
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able to cause an explosion so powerful it could cause craters in the ground, blowing apart thousands of cars, cars that set on fire because an explosion that happened more than a mile away from where i am right now. >> hello [ bleep ]! >> you can feel the raw power and sheer tear. on this cell phone video. >> no, no! >> reporter: a series of catastrophic explosions ripping through warehouses, unleashing hazardous chemicals. new daytime images reveal the fiery devastation at the blast site in this chinese port city of more than 13 million people. huge clouds of choking toxic smoke billowing into the sky. experts say one of the explosions was as strong as a small earthquake. this surveillance video, obtained by abc news, shows a man standing near the entrance of a building as the wall caves
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in on top of him. buildings shook more than two miles away from the source of the blasts. a waterfront industrial district in tan gin about two hours south of beijing. dozens are dead including 12 firefighters and over 500 people injured. as you walk past smashed buildings and charred wreckage of cars you can still smell chemicals. it's not clear exactly where hazardous materials were released into the air but the environmental group greenpeace is warning of a major health risk for residents who are already in shock. the december operation here evident. while i was reporting live outside a hospital. distraught survivors and security officers demanded to see the pictures on my phone. police didn't try to stop them. this city overwhelmed by disaster and loss.
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thousands of residents here are waking up in shelters this morning set up at ten different schools around the city. some of them don't have clothes or food and so that's being handed out as well. in just a couple of hours we could learn whether it will be safe for that biological and chemical response team to go to the blast zone which is just beyond those buildings back there. yesterday we saw a large black smoke plume. today we see occasional smoke but nothing like what we saw yesterday. a sign that perhaps this wicked fire is finally starting to burn itself out with the investigation just getting started here. >> will ripley, thank you so mu much. tonight a dangerous new allian alliance. the elusive leader of al qaeda is apparently sending a message of support to a powerful new force in afghanistan. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is here with the details. >> reporter: good evening. you know, the world has not heard from ayman al zawahiri, head of al qaeda, in months.
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that has changed. in a new video he pledges his allegiance to the taliban, often thought of a secondary group to al qaeda. why might zawahiri be taking that step? in afghanistan where the taliban still are launching massive attacks in kabul, there is apparently an effort by al qaeda to try and re-establish that alliance with the taliban, keep the taliban potentially out of my peace talks. al qaeda often now trying to reassert its public presence and its profile. because they are in a battle for struggle for the control, shall we say, of the global jihadist movement. isis is really on the rise. al qaeda to some extent finds themselves old, ageing jihadis looking to still be relevant. still very concerning, obviously, that zawahiri has re-emerged. he of course was at the right hand of osama bin laden during the 9/11 attacks. the u.s. has not been able to
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get to him. that is still very much an unfinished piece of business for the obama administration. >> thank you, bar vertebra, we appreciate it. now to the war against isis. the u.s.-led coalition has unleashed 24 new air strikes against terrorist targets in iraq and syria. tonight, syrian president appears to be feeling the pressure. a cnn official tells us the syrian president is ready to talk peace. >> reporter: pamela, you know there's been a notable uptick in violence here in the syrian capital of ba mass does. a lot more artillery firing than we've seen, a lot of air strikes going on as well. but there's also been a bunch of diplomatic activity. one of the things that happened is that iran's foreign minister
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zarif was in damascus, he met with behar al assad. he wouldn't give any details of a proposed peace plan but forward but he did say that in principle, the assad regime is willing to talk to opposition groups. >> yes, the syrian government is ready to sit with the opposition. but with the real opposition, not with armed groups. we are ready to sit with all kinds of opposition but not with terrorist groups, not with isis. >> reporter: pamela, of course one of the things that many members of the opposition are saying is that they want bashar al assad to step down before starting any talks with the syrian government. however, the deputy foreign minister dispelled any notion assad would be stepping down any time soon. he called that condition "outrageous." and one of the things he also did is he also criticized the
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united states now starting air raids from turkey against isis. he says he believes that six additional aircraft fighting isis will not make any sort of difference on the battlefield and once again called for the u.s. to work together with the syrian regime to combat the extremist group. >> let's talk more about terrorist threats. joining me, the top democrat on the house intelligence committee, congressman adam schiff. congressman, thanks for being here with us. my first question to you is about what we just heard about, this new alliance. this announcement from ayman al zawahiri about the new taliban leader. do you think the u.s. has actionable intelligence about where he may be? >> we're trying to, first of all, verify the authenticity of that tape. but i don't have any reason to question that that's him and that's his message. it makes sense for zawahiri both to show himself but also to
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align himself again with the talib taliban. particularly after mullah omar was revealed to have been dead for a couple of years. the fact that zawahiri his not seen or heard of very often may have people calling into question whether he's really leading the organization, whether al qaeda can really compete with isis, which seems to have the momentum in terms of the terrorist world. and aligning once again with the taliban that has given al qaeda sanctuary makes sense i think for zawahiri and for al qaeda to avoid a splintering of the taliban. taliban are fighting among themselves over succession right now. if that fight they have the risk of losing territory and personnel to isis is. so it makes sense for zawahiri to do that and it doesn't surprise me that he has. >> do you think zawahiri's concern about the split and how that could impact al qaeda? >> absolutely. well, concern for a couple reasons. concern because if the taliban
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disintegrates over internal conflicts, that might mean that it's less of a sanctuary, they provide less of a sanctuary to al qaeda. it also means they may lose their members to isis. and al qaeda is really at war with isis in terms of the jihadi battlefield. isis has been on the ascendancy, al qaeda looks very much like a relic of the past, then zawahiri himself looks like a relic of the past. they're very much i think concerned with the stability and long-term prospects for the taliban. >> zawahiri has been in the shadows for some time. i think the last time we heard from him was last september. why did he decide to surface after this long period of silence, do you think? >> i think it really has raised questions within al qaeda about the fact that zawahiri is heard from so seldom. and as i mentioned i think particularly coming after it was revealed that mullah omar had been dead two years. i think al qaeda is worried if
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its leadership doesn't show itself, its members are going to start questioning whether the leadership is really operational enough or whether they need to look for either new or different leadership or go to the rival terrorist power, that being isis. so i think that's why zawahiri finds it necessary to take the risk and there is a risk when they reveal themselves. but doing so i think was very important to them at this key time. >> zawahiri clearly feels threatened by isis. and there is a sense that perhaps he's losing power. but this is someone who played a key role in 9/11. why hasn't the united states been able to get to him? is he even a priority to capture? >> he's absolutely a priority to take off the battlefield. he's a big part of the unfinished business in terms of going after and eliminating that leadership responsible for 9/11. we have never lost focus i think on the imperative of finding him and going after him.
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and, you know, i think he has seen just about everyone around him over the years, these other high-value al qaeda targets taken off the battlefield one by one. but no, we won't rest until we can remove him as well from the long history of these deplorable figures involved with 9/11. >> we're just getting in breaking news on isis, standby, congressman. we'll be right back. no student's ever been the king of the campus on day one. but you're armed with a roomy new jansport backpack, a powerful new dell 2-in-1 laptop, and durable new stellar notebooks,
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we're back with congressman adam schiff, the top democrat on the house intelligence committee. congressman, please stand by, we are getting breaking news into "the situation room." the u.s. is investigating credible reports that isis terrorists recently used an outlawed chemical weapon. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is here along with our chief national security correspond ant jim sciutto. barbara, what are you learning? >> good evening. cnn's national security team bringing this information to "the situation room." tonight u.s. officials, multiple u.s. officials, are telling cnn
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the obama administration is investigating credible reports that isis in syria and iraq is in possession of mustard gas, a chemical weapon. what they are investigating is that the latest use of this may have been earlier this week in a town, a kurdish town in northern iraq. there are reports, credible reports, people there fell ill with symptoms that are very much identified with mustard gas. the belief broader than this one attack in this town in northern iraq is that isis may have come into possession of mustard gas at some time before the attack earlier this week. now, any question of chemical weapon in the east obviously politically fraught. a lot of history there. what officials are telling us is they are investigating it, they believe the reports are credible, they will not tell us the exact intelligence that
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leads them to believe the reports are credible. but they also are saying, mustard gas. low concentration is kind of an initial sense that they have of it. nobody has been killed by it. actually, mustard gas is not all that lethal. how could isis have gotten mustard gas, though? it's very serious that they would have it. there are three basic options. mustard gas from syria, not declared by bashar al assad when he was supposed to give up all his chemical weapons, hidden stockpiles that isis came across, old stockpiles in iraq, or even perhaps more troubling, has isis figured out how to make mustallstard g rocket or artillery shells with it and use it on the battlefield? all of this being investigated by the u.s. at this hour. >> jim sciutto, would you have been talking to sources in the intelligence community. how are they reacting to this new report? >> enormous concern. because no matter how isis got
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this, if it is confirmed that this is indeed mustard gas, it's not a good thin as barbara was referencing there. if they've developed the ability to make it themselves, that's of course enormously concerning. even if they didn't, it's been of great concern for some time. this is basically a treasure trove of weapons iraq and syria, a great deal of effort was expended during the syrian chemical weapons deal when the u.s. decided not to pursue military action after the government of assad used those weapons, the presumption had been, the claim had been, in fact, that they'd cleared syria of these chemical weapons stashes. is it possible there were stashes that the u.s. and the west does not know about? know ? 's did isis come into possession of them before that chemical weapons accord took place? or did they find them in iraq? all these scenarios are not good. chlorine gas had been used before but mustard gas is more complicated to use. and that would be a step up in terms of capability. again, these are questions being determined right now. but they are considering these reports credible.
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and really, if they do confirm them, however isis got their hands on them, this would be a significant development. >> do we know exactly how it was administered, how many people it impacted? >> this is what they're investigating right now. they believe that it was a shell that was used to deliver this. that takes some skill as well. to operate that shell, to use it correctly. so that's something that they're trying to determine right now. if it is determined that that would be a worrisome development. in terms of, as barbara said, no one was killed but they did have respiratory symptoms that did not indicate chlorine gas but mustard gas, also severe. those symptoms specific enough they made the conclusion -- not the conclusion, they made the supposition at this point that it was something more significant. >> i want to bring in congressman schiff to get your reaction. congressman, how concerning is this to you? >> it's very concerning. and for really the whole length of this conflict we have been following closely any allegations of the use of chemical weapons. you know, i think it is fairly
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easy to conclude with respect to the regime that the regime did use chemical weapons, that in fact they continue to use chlorine weapons. some of these chlorine barrel bombs are dropped from the air and the regime is the only one that has that air capability. in terms of isis, there have been public reports of isis using chlorine in the past. this would be a new and worrying report if it's accurate. i have no doubt that if isis could get their hands on this stuff, they would use it. no level of violence is too great for this group, gloer fying the terror it creates and the image of their brutality. if they get it, they'll use it. they also have a lot of former baathist officers that give them some sophistication. it may be also in the area of chemical weapons. i think if they do possess these kind of weapons, and i can't go into specifics, but if they did, my guess is they're more likely to have gotten them as old weapons left overwmd program th
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they were likely to obtain them in syria in some kind of a hidden cache of the regime's. but again, we're obviously going to explore any of these reports and continue to do all we can to get to the bottom of them. >> i want to bring in jim sciutto. >> congressman schiff, i wonder if i can ask you, it's been the contention of the administration that the air campaign, the ground forces that arellied with the u.s. and the coalition on the ground, the kurds, the iraqi security forces, are putting isis under pressure keeping it, in effect, from expanding its ability. this would seem to indicate they are expanding their ability, that they've gotten their hands on something that makes them more threatening to those forces. i just wonder from your perspective how much this undermines the administration's claim that they were being successful in putting pressure on isis, that isis is getting weaker rather than stronger as a result of the coalition campaign. >> well, i think the administration is correct when they say isis is under greater pressure than ever. but that doesn't mean they're
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not still a very potent force. and they are and they're capable of taking over new towns and they have. they're also capable of exploring new weapons if they can get their hands on them. but i don't think that that means that the trajectory of the conflict is different than what the administration is saying. even if they lay their hands on chlorine orem nants of saddam's chemical weapons program, i don't think that's a game changer as much as it as new horrific element to this already horrific conflict. i do think isis is feeling the pressure and i think particularly with turkey now taking some real steps to try to close down that border to infiltration of new isis fight there's may help stem the flow of people into the conflict, and obviously there's new pressure from the air and i think a new capability on the ground certainly with the kurdish fighters. doesn't surprise me that isis really wants to go after the kurds. >> congressman, is this a red line?
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do you think the administration needs to change its strategy as a result of this? >> i don't think so. it's heartbreaking because this conflict has already claimed so many lives and we all want to see it come to an end and we obviously want to see a quick end to the threat isis poses. but the reality is i don't think wreck get too far out ahead of the changes that the iraqi government has to make. to bring the sunnis into the fold. again, we can send in a lot more troops, we can send in spotters, do a lot of things that some people are calling for during the presidential campaign. and we can win some of the battles but we've seen they don't stay, one, if the political problems aren't solved. right now those political problems are as bad as ever. i just don't want to see us trading american lives for iraqis who aren't willing to make the political compromises they need to. >> let me ask you, congressman schiff, you mentioned american lives there. you heard the outgoing army chief of staff yesterday saying that he would recommend u.s.
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forces on the ground there, perhaps as spotters for air strikes, forward deployed advisers to iraqi forces. if isis has chemical weapons that would put u.s. forces certainly in greater danger. does that -- you say it's not a game changer in terms of the battlefield on the ground. but could this be a game changer in terms of putting u.s. troops into greater harm's way to fight isis? >> it could put our troops at greater risk. you know, we have i think good precautions that we can take if we're concerned about access of isis to chemical weapons. i think the greater risk, putting americans in harm's way, regardless of whether they possess these chemical weapons, risking the capture of american specific forces, risking the spectacle that we saw the jordanian people had to suffer when their pilot was burned alive. you can imagine how the conflict would escalate if that were to happen to an american. i think the president quite rightly has been resisting this
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being drawn in, particularly when we don't see the iraqis making the plate call changes they need to make. it does add additional risk but frankly i think the risk is already very considerable for american forces. >> congressman schiff, thank you so much. jim sciutto, we appreciate it. just ahead here in "the situation room," learning more about joe biden's outreach to supporters and advisers as he mulls a run for president. is he close to making a decision? find out how donald trump reacted when one of his opponents mocked him. does this sound like trump to you? >> the reason i tell women is they're ugly is because i'm so good looking. (speaking to students)
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head-turning comment in the republican presidential race. and this time it isn't donald trump what is raising eyebrows, it's jeb bush. he's revisiting some hot-button issues closely connected with his brother's presidency. our chief congressional correspondent dana bash is here with more on the 2016 race. >> you know, it's always been clear that jeb bush would have to work very hard to try to make voters see that he's different from his brother. in fact, it's not just political, that struggle, it's personal. george w. bush is his brother, his family, and it makes it very hard for him to do so, that was clear today.
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jeb said george made this country safer and he's not just saying that because he's a bush. the question to jeb bush, if the u.s. had not invaded iraq in the first place, would isis be a problem now? >> who knows? i mean, that's just such a complicated hypothetical. who knows? i can't answer that. i'll tell you that taking out saddam hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal. >> reporter: the last time bush was asked a hypothetical, knowing what we know now would he have gone to war in iraq, it took him five days to give the right political answer -- no. >> knowing what we know now, what would you have done? >> i would have not gained, i would not have gone into iraq. >> reporter: on this new remark about taking out saddam hussein, bush advisers immediately pushed back on any notion he fumbled, noting that president obama, who opposed the iraq war from the start, has said similar. >> i think the fact that saddam hussein is gone is a good thing. >> reporter: today bush had a new take on all these hypotheticals. >> if you think about all the
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variables that could have happened had we not invaded then, we might have invaded later, who knows? i mean, then you're in "back to the future." might as well make a movie out of it. >> reporter: he was reluctant to stake out a firm position on torture for terror suspects, another controversy from his brother's administration. something president obama stopped immediately after taking office. >> when you're president, your words matter. and i'm cautious about making commitments without having all the facts because this is a serious undertaking. i do think in general that torture is not appropriate, it's not as effective, and the change of policy that my brother did and then was put into executive order form by the president, was the proper thing to do. >> reporter: one of bush's competitors climbing in the iowa polls, neurosurgeon ben carson, in the line of fire from a fellow doctor accusing him of using tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research, something he told cnn is unnecessary. >> virtually everything that can
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be attributed to progress by using fetal tissue can also use other types of tissue. >> reporter: today in new hampshire carson defended his research as different. >> tissue specimens, tissue banks, are maintained everywhere. it would be irresponsible to throw the tissue away. >> as for donald trump, the reality show that made him really, really famous is going to continue. but without donald trump. that, of course, is "the apprentice." the news came and gave us several headlines. of course, they couldn't resist, saying that trump was fired. trump fired back on twitter saying, i left "the apprentice" to run for president. and he said "the apprentice" did not leave me. >> of course he had to get the last word. >> of course. >> dana, stay with us. i want to bring in cnn senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny, cnn senior political reporter mia malik henderson,
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and executive editor mark preston. we just heard in dana's report about ben carson and the new controversy surrounding him. is he a hypocrite? >> i think the voters, particularly in iowa, will have to decide. those are the voters that are very much energized and excited about ben carson. they see him as a fellow traveler, a fellow social conservative, they very much were energized and happy to see him in the debate. he has been making a big deal about planned parenthood, he has come out to say that they shouldn't use this fetal tissue, that fetal tissue shouldn't be used at all, it isn't very helpful in terms of academic research. then he has this paper from 1992 where he clearly used it. so far he doesn't seem willing to say that we should have a ban on using this. so i think he's going to have some explaining to do to those folks, particularly in iowa, who very much think this is an issue, abortion, and the use of fetal tissue. >> his explanation is very
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scientific. look, he's really, really smart. he is a pediatric neurosurgeon. he is a scientist. he understands things that most people who are not trained in this way, never mind have the smarts but don't have the training, understand. so he tends to speak -- he actually in general cab relan r to people. on this particular issue because you're talking about his field, he gets really, really into the weeds in a way that many laypeople might not be able to understand, especially when they're talking about something so emotional at abortion. >> he was not invited to the red state conference last weekend. that is something that erick ericsson, the organizer, said was a mistake. >> that was the controversy that wasn't covered because of donald trump, who's taken every bit of oxygen out of this republican race for many other candidates. thursday night, right before the debate, there was a big gathering of red state. he was asked why he didn't invite ben carson. at the time erice ericsson said,
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"i didn't invite him, next question?" then moved on. what happened was trump took over that conference by being disinvited. what we'd seen afterwards in the past 24 hours, eric ericsson has written a blog post saying, i don't regret not inviting donald trump or disinviting him, i regret not bringing ben carson there. the reason being a lot of those folks are social conservatives, his audience. eric ericsson said he didn't think he was a real candidate. after that debate performance and what we've seen from our iowa poll, eric ericsson said he's going to give him another chance. >> you said trump is taking away oxygen. i think we're seeing some republicans finding if they hit back against trump, maybe they'll get some of the oxygen back. we're seeing that with rand paul. >> we have now people up there who say such profound things as, "you're stupid." "you're fired." "you're a big." "you look terrible." "you only have half a brain."
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then when you respond with an argument, "you're stupid." >> jeff zeleny, you're on the ground in iowa. does this kind of reaction from trump's competitors have any impact on trump's popularity? >> pamela, it's really interesting. i'm at the iowa state fair, the first day of the state fair, where virtually every republican and democratic presidential candidate will come over the next week and a half or so. and i can tell you that the republican regulars, the ones who go to the iowa caucuses, who have in the past, the establishment, and others, pretty much to a person, they are offended by some of the things that trump is saying. but also intrigued. i'll tell you, driving around a bit in iowa today and talking with voters, we see some trump signs, for one. also intrigue in him. it's unclear if any of these attacks on him from fellow republican candidates are going to stick because he is attracting a different type of person. so donald trump will be here in
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iowa at the state fair on saturday. that will be a chance for him to take his message directly to voters. he's been campaigning a lot in nonprimary states. he'll be in new hampshire friday, iowa on saturday. voters are still making their measure of him. two-thirds of iowa caucusgoers a who are republicans say they have not yet made up their minds. an important thing to keep in mind as we go forward. >> that could be a good thing for vice president biden if he decides to enter the race. we'll talk about that right after this break. fresher dentures with polident. for the best first impression. love loud. live loud. polident. number 1 dentist recommended. ♪ fresher dentures with polident. for those breathless moments. hug loud. live loud. polident.
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our political team is standing by talking about the 2016 race. tonight we're learning more about a possible presidential run by vice president joe biden. he's privately reaching out to supporters and advisers while publicly keeping hillary clinton and other democratic candidates guessing. our white house correspondent michelle kosinski is looking into that. >> reporter: this as been one of the big mysteries of this race. is joe biden running or not? and that's because by all accounts he's still working on that decision. and this week while he's been on vacation with his family, on this tiny island off south carolina, we know he has been reaching out to those close to him about that possibility. but some democrats are wondering too if it might not be too late or whether this is really a good
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idea. vice president joe biden is calling close supporters and advisers this week, still considering jumping in the race for 2016. >> i consider him a friend. >> reporter: hillary clinton says she'll respect whatever decision biden makes. though her supporters have sent some signals to think twice. >> the problem is that joe biden is a very good guy and probably has no appeal whatsoever to people under 35. >> you think he's going to run? >> i can't tell. but i'm worried if he does and doesn't do well, it will be hurtful to him and we all care about him deeply. >> reporter: donald trump is already treating him as an opponent. >> i think i'd match up great. i'm a job producer, i've had a great record. i haven't been involved in plagiarism. >> reporter: a reference to biden's issues in law school, as well as during his 1988 campaign, accused of using someone else's line in a speech. here's jon stewart recently. >> the reason loose lips mcgee [ bleep ]ed up his 2008 president unrun is now the
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reason he's a viable candidate? >> reporter: however often biden may make funny headlines his decades of experience, nearly 40 years as a well-respected senator, have garnered him plenty of support hoarse would like him to go for it, hit that middle ground of democrats frustrated with clinton's e-mail problems but not liberal enough to back the independent bernie sanders. the latest cnn/orc poll of likely iowa caulk doesgoers places biden third at 12%. if he doesn't run, clinton benefits the most. >> i do trust hillary but i trust joe more. >> reporter: for biden this is more than political. his son beau, who died in may, had urged his father to take this chance and run with it. the 72-year-old has had to mull this over in the midst of grieving and working. now this week, away from washington, thinking and discussing could be his deciding factor. so he doesn't have a super pac, he doesn't have this massive political operation that's been in place like hillary clinton's
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for a long time. but that doesn't mean this won't happen. >> michelle kosinski, thank you so much. i want to bring our political team back starting with jeff zeleny on the ground in iowa. i do spoke with governor o'mally today about his thoughts on vice president biden running. >> i think vice president biden is a tremendous public servant for our country. and i would welcome his entrance into this race. i think that the more voices for progress that people in our party hear from, i think the better our party will do. >> is he eating a pork chap? what was that? >> i mean -- pamela, what martin o'mally was saying there, he was eating a pork chop, you're right, as we were talking there. i caught him mid-mouth. he was saying, look, of course he wants him to come into this race a couple of reasons. one, it would be good
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politically for someone to break up the field. for two, it would be sort of strong for martin o'mally. he believes someone to challenge secretary clinton would be good. martin o'mally believes voters are willing to give other candidates a look. he says it's more wide open than people may believe back in washington. he did welcome him into the race with open arms today. >> you've been talking to sources, what are you hearing? >> i talked to people in south carolina, where he is now, he's got long-time ties down there to folks in the african-american community and more broadly in that state. they say, a, he's in mourning right now, obviously. but also, that he's got a day job. he's thinking about that. he's are all the thing he's weighing as he goes forward. in a state like south carolina, he got 17, 20 folks to endorse him in that 2008 race but he never made it to south carolina because he only got 1% in iowa and dropped out before that primary. and that sort of -- that's no small thing, that he wasn't
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>> i think what claire said was really right on what i'm hearing from democratic sources, that they like him so much. they want him to go into the sunset nicely and not have a potentially bad campaign at the end. personally, one thing i have been told to remember is that his son -- not only did his son just died, he died with two small children that joe biden feels like he needs to be not just a grandfather to but a father to. >> quickly, mark. >> there's a role for joe biden. he could be somebody who could travel the world, could be the unofficial official ambassador on behalf of the white house. he doesn't have to bet secretary of state. we saw george mitchell do that. there say role for joe biden. does he get into the race? i agree. i don't think so. >> thank you so much. we appreciate it. just ahead, new video of the earth shaking explosions that killed dozens of people and injured hundreds. what fuelled these massive
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tonight, the finale of cnn's original series "the seventies." with us now a music legend who had some of his biggest hits in the seventies.
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smoky robinson joins us. you are being honored by the rock and roll hall of fame for your amazing work. as you look back at your life's work, what stands out to you the most? >> this moment right now. i really mean that. i really mean that. like you said, it has been a long time for me. i mean, a few decades. here i am today and you are interviewing me and you are interested in what i'm doing or what i'm being or what i'm about to do. that's very important to me. that's very precious. i say right now. >> wow. that's quite an honor for us. it's not just me. it's so many people. you have had such an incredible career. part of that is highlighted in the season finale of cnn's "the serve en seventies." let's watch. >> this is the world's largest anti-disco rally. >> during a doubleheader with the white sox, they had a disco
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demolition night. >> we took all disco records that you brought tonight, we got them in a giant box, and we're going to blow them up real good. >> it turned into a mini-riot. people started fires. they were ripping things up. it got really out of control. >> i would like to say disco did not suck. disco was a revolutionary force. >> watching scenes like that, what are your thoughts? >> just the fact that it was really a fascinating time. i mean, there were so many different goenres of music. disco was very popular. it was the craze for a long time. i think that -- all the old music started then. then it was go go and then disco and all the os started to happen. they were basically like the same thing. young people just getting together. i think dancing helped all those
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musics. because the discos and the go-go places and all those places like that where people could go and dance became very, very popular in those days. i think that dancing helped the music and the music helped the dancing. >> that's a good way to look at it. what was it like to be at the sener of a center? >> i was living my love. i love my job. i love what i do. i feel very blessed to be able to live my life earning a living making music. it was wonderful for me. i played at a lot of disco clubs and a lot of go-go clubs and places like that. it was a great time. >> your music is still popular to this day. it is being honored. you accepted a lifetime achievement award. what did that moment mean to you? >> it was very special, of course, because bet has been a longtime -- i've had a long tti
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relationship with bet. it was beautiful to get an award from them. it was like going to your home and you get there and your family is there waiting for you to give you an award. i don't -- i really don't do this to get awards. so any award that i get is like really love it and i'm very icing on the cake for me. blessed and very fortunate to be because i just do it because i able to do it and earn a living. an award is like -- that's like icing. >> big congratulations to you. smoky rock binson, thank you fo coming on to talk with us. >> thank you very much. put on your dancing shoes and listen to some of the greatest music of the '70s. cnn's original series tonight at 9:00 eastern. you can always follow us on twitter. join us tomorrow in "the situation room." thank you very much for watching. i'm pamela brown in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now.
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"outfront" tonight, nearly every presidential candidate descending on iowa for the state's biggest political event of the year. speaking live in this hour a rising star in the republican party, carly fiorina. joe biden consulting political heavyweights about a possible run for president. could joe biden derail the hillary clinton express? donald trump says his fafvorite book is the bible. does he have thechristians? let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone. i'm kate baldwin in for erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, nearly every presidential candidate is sdepdisdepd i descending upon iowa.

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